Although he's bigger at 6-1, 205, Sammy Watkins plays a role a lot like De'Anthony Thomas could be used for at Oregon if DAT decides to return for his senior year.
Watkins had 16 catches for 227 yards and 2 tds in Clemson's 40-35 victory over Ohio State last night. The Tigers feature him as a receiver, a return man, and running fly sweeps. They put him motion a lot and run misdirection and counters off the attention he commands from the defense.
Thomas is much smaller at 5-9, 170, but he's equally explosive, and has good hands catching the football. As a freshman he led the Ducks with 46 catches for 605 yards, and 9 tds. His productivity as a receiver has gone down every year, which is a shame, because slot receiver is his best position. Nimble, fast and hard to cover, he catches the ball well in traffic, and has a knack for the big play.
If he came back and focused on playing receiver, his future NFL position, DAT could give the Ducks a potent combination at wideout along with Bralon Addison. Addison can replace Josh Huff, and Thomas can replace Addison. Off the ball at slot, Thomas doesn't have to worry as much about getting off jams on the line, and the Ducks can use him in the motion and counter game, shovel passes, pitches, and quick screens.
With one man to beat in the open field, the Crenshaw product is one of the most dangerous players in the game. Having one clear role will make him more effective and improve his focus as a senior.
Dwayne Stanford and Chance Allen could play the big receiver role provided by Daryle Hawkins and Lavasier Tuinei before him.
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